President Donald Trump will not push for enhanced interrogation of captured terrorists unless Secretary of Defense James Mattis or CIA Director Mike Pompeo ask him too, he said in an Wednesday interview with ABCNews.
Trump elaborated that he believes enhanced interrogation techniques such as waterboarding are effective interrogation methods, and that he would have no qualms with U.S. military personnel torturing terror suspects.
“I will tell you I have spoken to others in intelligence. And they are big believers in, as an example, waterboarding,” he told ABCNews. He continued, “As far as I’m concerned we have to fight fire with fire,” elaborating, “I wanna do everything within the bounds of what you’re allowed to do legally. But do I feel it works? Absolutely I feel it works.”
When Senator Dianne Feinstein asked Pompeo whether he would carry out an order to torture he replied,“Absolutely not.” He continued that he had voted to restrict CIA interrogation methods to those listed in the U.S. Army Field Manual, a position Mattis has also endorsed.
Mattis made his position on torture clear in his very first meeting with Trump. He reportedly told the President, ‘”Give me a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers and I’ll do better.” Trump said at the time that he was “very impressed by that answer,” and has repeatedly indicated his deference to Mattis on the matter.
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